John Ramsey Miller is very much impressed with this submission. What can I say? It starts with the end, or does it? The bubbles tickling as they exit. Vibro dance. It’s all here. Just read it and agree.
Beads of sweat glowed on sun-drenched, silken skin. She lay on the diving board, positioned on her stomach, face resting on folded arms. The wickedly delicious events of the morning left her physically sated. Her other appetites blazed. The cell phone rested within easy reach. Any moment the call that would make it happen. From captive princess to ultimate victor; she’d outsmarted them all. She basked in the sun and the brilliance of her imminent triumph.
Jester, her King Charles spaniel and favorite creature on earth, sat atop the poolside settee. He startled as the ring-tone trilled and the phone vibro-danced on the board’s grainy surface. She picked it up and noted the incoming number. She closed her eyes, savoring the moment. She raised the phone.
Before the device reached her ear, it dropped from her hand, bouncing off the board and splashing into the water below.
The muscles of her forearms quivered as a freakish spasm passed through her body.* Jester jumped off the settee with a yelp. He crouched, whining, paws extended and belly pressed tight to the ground.
Weakness cloaked her. She struggled to her elbows. Her limbs failed and her shoulders twisted as her now unresponsive arm acted as a lever that rolled her, as if in slow motion. Her muscles would not respond. She summoned one weak cry as her body hit the water.
Her face plunged under the surface. Internal commands to swim and thrash yielded nothing. The fresco on the bottom of the pool rotated before her fixed and unblinking eyes as she spun and sank. Can’t move shrieked through her consciousness. Her heart pounded in her chest and ears. Water passed through her nose and mouth. Tiny bubbles rushed for the surface, tickling in their exit. Fluid advanced down her throat and balloons of air escaped, belching out and up. The reflex imperative to cough and gag was insistent but her body did not respond.
Water flowed down her windpipe, the dense and cool sensation terrifyingly foreign but unmistakable. It invaded her lungs. Like a continuous first breath on an icy winter’s morning, but it was not air. And it did not stop.